Prepare Your Home to Sell: Staging

Staging is not a commentary on the sellers’ ability to decorate their home in a tasteful way, but it is instead the art of purposeful depersonalizing a home so that a buyer can pay attention to the house not the personal possessions of the sellers, therefore, attracting the highest value for the home and sell in the shortest amount of time.

We live in a home differently than when our home is on the market. When a home is for sale, it becomes a commodity; it is no longer your “home”. These steps will help maximize the value of your home and put the odds in your favor that it will sell quickly.

  • Depersonalize your home. Now is the time to showcase your home not your collectibles. It is time to pre-pack the figurines, match-box cars, whatever it is that you collect and all family photos. Otherwise, the buyer is distracted and drawn to looking at the collections or tries to figure out if they know the family rather than noticing the home and its features. The buyers need help to envision their family and style in your house by a depersonalized space. When your home is for sale, it should feel more like a hotel than your home. The hotel business has studied the art of making the masses feel at home in their place of business – so now we need to learn from them.

  • Maximize square footage. Now is the time to remove the extra pieces of furniture, rugs (show those hardwood floors!), and items that take up floor space. When a room is encircled with things, it closes the room down to the middle of the space and appears much smaller. The rule of thumb is to show at least 50% of wall space. If the dining room table can seat 12, make the table smaller, store the chairs (not alongside the wall!), then the dining room will appear even larger. It allows the buyer to envision their Thanksgiving dinner in your home. Many sellers will need to arrange for storage off site for their items. The climate controlled storage units or a friend’s extra bedroom can come in very handy during this step. If a home is on the market because the seller has outgrown it — you don’t want the buyer to conclude that their home will be too small for them as well simply by showing the home over crowded.

  • Update the tired or worn parts of your home. Buyers will look at your home with critical eyes. The flaws that you’ve gotten used to over time will stand out to the buyer. Freshen the space inside and outside with new light fixtures, fans, hardware, paint and flooring for the top value of your home. Upgrading is essential, not only for the cosmetic items, structurally and mechanically as well. If the roof or heating/air is at the end of its life then remember, the buyer will not want to buy a “used up” roof or HVAC. It is always more affordable to replace or repair something than let the buyer come up with a number to undercut the offering price of the sale. Have a pre-inspection on your home to reveal repairs needed.

  • Clean. Your home should sparkle! Start at the ceiling and systematically work down to the floor, cleaning every molding, light fixture and surface, including the windows. If the appliances are not new, clean them to look like they are new. If the baseboards and trim do not clean up, then paint them. This applies to the yard as well. The goal of a fast and strong offer is to make the buyer feel like all they have to do is unpack!

  • Maximize the closet/storage space. It is very important to make the closets and any storage area appear as large as possible. This is done by having space 50% empty, the floor cleared as much as possible and the items stored up high to be small and not looming overhead. Remember, if the home looks too small for you, then the buyer will assume it will be too small for them.

  • Minimize the pet factor. The buyer might plan on having pets, but they are unforgiving of the seller’s pets. Evidence of pets of any kind needs to be minimized if not removed. Buyers should not be able to see or smell any evidence of pets inside or outside.

  • Pop in some “wow” factor. A bathroom can feel updated by framing out the mirror, getting a new sink, faucet and hardware and a coat of paint! New hardware and countertops for the kitchen can work wonders. Consider a “granite option” for the kitchen if needed. This strategy lets the buyer choose the granite but also can be negotiated out at offer time as well. Contact me for details.

  • Make your home show at its max! Your first showing is on-line through the pictures. If a home has not been staged and has too many items in the picture for the mind’s eye to process – the confused buyer will just shut down and move on. The second showing deals with the curb appeal. When the buyer drives up to the home, it should be freshly manicured, edged and inviting. Then finally, when the buyer walks into the home they should be welcomed with a clean, up to date, clutter-free home where they can imagine their family and style.

The price of a home may get the buyer to your home, but the staging of your home will engage them emotionally and draw them into a stronger and faster offer-to-purchase.

Work through a detailed list of items in the staging of your home to put the odds in your favor to sell your home quickly and for the best value. Contact me for the detailed list.

What is your home in the Greater Columbia, SC worth? Contact me.

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